Red Clay Rewards  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

OK, it's time for another post. And, despite the odds, I actually have a few things to post about. Allow me to illustrate.........

The naturally humble have it easy. They usually are these people who perform remarkably sacrificial wonders, making life for those around them much better than it would be otherwise. In time, these people are recognized for their selfless contributions to their community. They blush and accept the praises and keep on keeping on. I like these people, but I'm not really one of them. Most of us aren't.

Then there are those of us who mean well. Yes, we too add to the quality of life around us, but we are not as immune to the need to be recognized for exactly how we contribute to our surroundings and the people living in it. And yes, we are handicapped by a need to profit by our efforts. We want to be paid according to our worth, we want that "attaboy" when we go above and beyond, only we don't usually go that far beyond because sometimes we are made to feel as though we are lucky to have a job, much less expecting something special for doing that job well. That's why you have drones occupying sales counters appearing to do nothing of actual value except take your money and pass it on to their masters, because they have never and do not expect to gain any appreciation for their efforts. Yes, I do applaud the selfless volunteer who comforts us, helps us, or provides something we want or need in return for nothing more than having something worthwhile to do. But I also applaud those hearty souls who DEMAND to be recognized as people, as workers, as cogs in the machine who deliver value and have every right to demand something in return, such as a decent standard of living, safe working conditions, and perhaps a pension to reward them in their retirement when punching that clock is simply too much to ask after decades of hard work. We all need SOME sort of quality rest before we kick the bucket.

In this regard I have always been torn. I really, really try these days to perform my job in the best way possible, but I am also loath to get into that "above and beyond" bullshit when it seems that it's simply taken for granted. One thing I do hold sacrosanct is that MY patients, the poor sick souls whom I come in contact with during my twelve hour shifts of servitude in return for my meager pay, do not suffer for having been in my presence, but rather have a much better experience for having done so. I take great pride in how I perform tests on my patients in the least painful way possible, since being allergic to pain as I am, I have a certain empathy in that regard. And, believe it or not, I am actually REMEMBERED for my efforts. I also believe that ANY task I am responsible for, however trivial or straight-forward that task might be considered, can be done better if one only tries. Thus, there are many processes here in this unit that I am directly responsible for having improved, especially in how it impacts the comfort of our patients, and that I take great pride in. So, should I be given credit where credit is due, or should I just "be humble" about it and consider myself lucky just to have a job? Whenever I feel justified in blowing my own horn, I do so with a certain trepidation, firstly for having to feel that I have to do it, secondly living with a certain guilt for having done it period. I struggle with all this daily.

Thus I FINALLY get to the point I meant to get to several paragraphs back. (Yes, I know who damn long-winded I can get; you DON'T have to tell me) We finally had our annual performance reviews this past week, which have been somewhat overdue for a variety of circumstances, including a change in Leadership of the Hospital. I usually dread these things, because it usually goes that I am given a long laundry list of all those improvements I need to focus on, and why I am begrudgingly getting a pathetic excuse for a raise, again, being reminded in a round-about way that I should consider my luck in even being employed. This usually flies horrifically in what I know to be the truth of the matter, but this being a right-to-work state, you open your mouth and dare protest to much at your own peril. I HAVE been on occasion asked to consider some other occupation, after some rather ridiculous drama that I had precious little to do with or was blown totally out of proportion. So, you can imagine my reluctance to sit with the boss and get raked over the coals for another round of imagined insults.

Only THIS time it didn't happen that way.

It was as if the record I had recorded in my head all these thirteen long years had been lovingly removed from it's jacket and played to an appreciate audience for the very first time. All those reasons I have lived with for wanting to be APPRECIATED for what I have done for this unit all these years were suddenly taken out of the cabinet, dusted off, and validated. My boss informed me that I was held in the highest esteem by my peers for my work ethic, my professionalism, my abilities, and on top of that I was given a pretty damn good raise, at least compared to what passes for a raise here in this place. You can imagine the effect this had on my overall mood. I was expecting the worst, and was happily disappointed.

AND, before THAT, THE Wife was given a real big "Attagirl" for HER work ethic by HER boss and given an even BIGGER raise! And she deserved every damn penny of it! Now, you tell me, was this not a good week?

Continuing on with the news, I installed the new air-conditioner in the bedroom, and it hasn't solved my problem at all. I think my problem is particular to ME, since the wife is having none of the problems with noise and clamminess that I am, but then again, I'm not taking sleeping pills either. Maybe I need the pills to. Old age can screw up your sleep patterns anyway. So now we have an air conditioner, the one that USED to be in the master bedroom, installed in the extra-bedroom/Wife's-workshop window.

For some strange reason, the county, which is apparently NEVER going to pave our road, has decided to be nice to us on this Lane and has been spreading red clay over the top of our sand road, which turns into washboard no sooner than they grade it. So far it seems like this clay is actually working to reduce the washboard effect that usually afflicts us on this road. I have had to drive like a bat out of hell over these bumps to keep them from pounding my suspension into putty. (You see, my theory is that if you drive fast enough, you actually spend most of your tire-contact time on the tops of the bumps, instead of allowing the tires to descend into each rut and produce the associated stress. Now that the road is much smoother, I can actually slow down and reduce my risk of an accident.

Most of our lower-cost gas stations (such as HESS) appear to be desperately trying to hold at that psychological $3.99 a gallon of gas, but many of them are already refusing to allow credit cards or are charging extra to use them, due to the fact that the credit card companies have been charging these businesses a percentage on each purchase which now exceeds the profit margin of each gallon of fuel because of how expensive a fill-up is getting. Visa and Mastercard are going to have to re-negotiate their fee structure or they are going to lose gas customer business altogether. So, what will win out; greed or pragmatism? This is capitalist-to-the-extreme America, what do YOU think?

OK, that's it, no more news from dry-lake Woebegone. This is what you find at Pendragon Hold, an acre of sand somewhere in N.E. Florida. May Mother Gaia treat you well, as she has us. You can see what pissing her off did for the fine folks in the midwest.........

This entry was posted on Saturday, June 28, 2008 at Saturday, June 28, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

5 slick comments

Sounds to me as though life is sweet in your corner of the universe. Good for you.

June 29, 2008 at 1:00 AM
The Good Twin  

"my theory is that if you drive fast enough, you actually spend most of your tire-contact time on the tops of the bumps, instead of allowing the tires to descend into each rut and produce the associated stress"
That's called resonance dear sweet dad; when you match the resonance of your suspension you think you're saving by speeding over the bumps there is very little vibration---when you match the resonance of a crystal glass, it shatters. Sorry to get nerdy on you ;-)

June 29, 2008 at 12:39 PM

Nice rant. Maybe your hot flashes are trying to tell you something else?

I like your theory about skimming over the crests of the ruts. Is there a Hovercraft dealership in your neck of the woods?

ps I'm emailing you a gas prices around the world thingy. This is it they are never going back down you know...and they sghouldn't..it's the only way that people will start understanding that there is only 79 years of Oil left. 79ish.

June 30, 2008 at 5:10 PM

Did you get any WTGs? In case you didn't... way to go on taking that old record off the turntable! You deserve the kudos!

July 1, 2008 at 3:25 PM

Absolutely Positively Most Magnificently Congratulations to you AND The Wife for your Attaboys/girls! Good for you, and good for them for finally recognizing it.

July 1, 2008 at 5:40 PM

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